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Bird Sightings : Hebrides : Chaffinch

Bird Sightings : Chaffinch
Male Chaffinch


(Common Chaffinch, Pink, Shelfie, Spink, Fink, Vink)

Fringilla coelebs

Gaelic: Breacan Beithe

Photography © Kim Park
Gisla - Uig - Isle of Lewis - Outer Hebrides (Western Isles)
4th May 2006


Our Chaffinch photographs


  • Chaffinch
  • Fringilla coelebs
  • Gaelic: Breacan Beithe
  • UK: Resident Breeder, Passage/Winter Visitor
  • UK: Summer 6 million pairs BTO
  • WI: Uncommon resident breeder (10-99 breeding pairs) in Lewis. Otherwise uncommon passage visitor (low numbers) and winter visitor
  • Breeding: Lays 4-5 blue-green purple-streaked eggs. Nests in tree-fork. Woodland. Europe, North Africa, North Asia (Introduced - South Africa, New Zealand)
  • Winters: Northernmost birds migrate south. Asia, North Africa
  • Habitat: Forest, deciduous woodland, scrub, arable & pasture farmland, villages, parks, gardens
  • Diet: Mostly seeds (young mostly insects - rare in finches)
  • Small plump finch. Brown back. Grey head. Brown tail with white edges. Olive-green rump (above tail).Pinkish-brown underparts. Flight the brownish-black wings show broad white wingbar & whitish 'shoulder' patches. Grey legs
    Breeding male has reddish underparts & blue-grey cap. Female much drabber & greener.
  • Max recorded age: 11yrs 7mths
  • Listen to a Chaffinch (RSPB site). Call a sharp "Pink". Song warbling
  • Similar birds: Brambling

The Chaffinch usually prefers to feed under bushes or on the bird table rather than on a bird feeder.


The Latin name of the Chaffinch is coelebs. This comes from the Latin for bachelor, and was given to the species by Linnaeus in 1758. In winter Linneaus saw only male Chaffinches in Sweden where he lived. (Females from the northern breeding grounds of the Chaffinch winter further south).

The old names for the Chaffinch - Spink, Fink, Vink come from sound of it's call.


The Chaffinch is the secondmost common breeding bird in UK.


Chaffinch records in the Western Isles

Uncommon resident breeder (10-99 breeding pairs) in Lewis.
One breeding record in Barra.
Otherwise uncommon passage visitor (low numbers) and winter visitor
Source: Outer Hebrides Bird Report (2001)

On the chart below the darker the shade of blue the more abundant the Chaffinch is during a month or the more likely you are to see it.

























(Source: Outer Hebrides Birds Checklist)



Visit Kim's web site of her photography of the Western Isles

Other local bird photographs

Sources of information for the bird sightings section

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